Sunday Kitchen: Ghoul power
The Dunbrody House’s star chef, Kevin Dundon, shares his favourite recipes
Halloween weekend has arrived, and with it, all the great and fun treats to prepare with the kids. If you are lucky enough to go to the Púca Festival in Trim, Co Meath, this weekend, you will enjoy multiple events with music, fire, feasting and merriment to celebrate the Celtic New Year with the spirits of Halloween.
Today, I am focusing on two recipes that use marshmallow to bind the mixture together. First, we have simple popcorn monsters. The crispiness of the popcorn and the melting, sweet coating of the marshmallow give the easiest texture to mould to your preferred shapes.
Be aware — melted marshmallow will stick to absolutely everything. My advice is to oil any tools used, such as the spoons used to shape your monsters. Sprinkling some icing sugar on the non-stick baking paper will also ensure the mixture doesn’t stick too much.
My second recipe is a family favourite with a Halloween twist — a chocolate biscuit cake smothered with sweets. A great way to use up any Halloween leftovers, it’s sure to delight any kids (and mums and dads too) stopping by this bank holiday weekend.
HALLOWEEN POPCORN MONSTERS
Ingredients (serves 6-8): ■ 3 tbsp oil ■ 50g popcorn kernels ■ 50g butter ■ 1 tsp vanilla extract ■ 300g mini marshmallows ■ 20 white chocolate jazzies
■ 40g liquorice sweets ■ Icing sugar for dusting
Method: 1. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper, grease lightly and sprinkle generously with icing sugar. 2. In a large, deep saucepan over medium heat, drizzle the oil and add the popcorn kernels. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook for 2-3 minutes, until all the kernels have popped, shaking the saucepan often to ensure the popcorn is not burning. 3. When the popping has stopped, transfer the popcorn into a bowl and set aside until needed. 4. Next, in a second saucepan over low heat, add the butter and vanilla extract. Once the butter has melted, add the marshmallow and stir until both are smooth and melted. 5. Remove from the heat and add the popcorn to the marshmallow mixture. Stir well to coat the popcorn. 6. Using two dessert spoons, spoon little ‘popcorn monsters’ out of the mixture. Rubbing the spoons with some oil first will help prevent the mixture from sticking. 7. Carefully place the monsters onto the prepared baking tray. Once all of the mixture has been used, decorate the monsters with the liquorice, white chocolate jazzies, and extra popcorn and marshmallow. 8. Set aside for two hours at room temperature to set. 9. Once set, sprinkle with a little extra icing sugar and store in an airtight container. 10. Eat within four days to ensure the popcorn monsters stay fresh.
SPOOKY ROCKY ROAD CAKE
Ingredients (serves 6-8): ■ 110g butter, softened ■ 300g dark chocolate, broken into chunks ■ 3 tbsp golden syrup ■ 200g digestive biscuits, crushed ■ 10 Jaffa Cakes ■ 100g mini marshmallows ■ 300g mixed sweets and chocolate bonbons ■ Cocoa powder for dusting
Method: 1. Line a 20cm square cake tin with a layer of baking paper. 2. In a bowl, over a pan of simmering water, melt the butter, chocolate and golden syrup for about 5 minutes until everything is melted together. 3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix together the biscuits, marshmallows and most of the sweets and chocolate bonbons — this is a great way to use up any sweets gathered on Halloween night. 4. When the chocolate mixture has melted thoroughly, pour it onto the biscuit mixture and mix well until combined. 5. Next, pour the chocolate and biscuit mixture into the lined cake tin and flatten with a spoon. 6. Transfer to the fridge and allow to set for three hours. 7. Once set, transfer the cake onto a board. Sprinkle with some cocoa powder and decorate with extra sweets. 8. Cut into squares before serving and enjoy in small quantities.
TOP TIP: HOW TO KEEP HALLOWEEN TREATS HEALTHY(ISH) WITH CHOCOLATE-DIPPED APPLES
If you want to avoid sweets this weekend, try chocolate-dipped apples instead. Take four small apples, and stick a bamboo skewer into the centre of each one. Melt 200g high-quality dark or milk chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water on low heat. Dip the apples in the chocolate. Once coated, immediately decorate with sprinkles, crushed honeycomb or googly eyes. Place the decorated apples on baking paper and allow to cool at room temperature until set. Then store in the fridge until ready to serve, drizzled with caramel sauce.
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